Events Celebrate Human Connections

 

by Tahira Endean

Event professionals face an alphabet soup of things to think about and manage daily: rising costs, connections, climate change, fundraising, growth, wellness, AI, revenue, quality and so much more.

There is a seemingly endless list of challenges, and yet we have a global industry that is busier than ever. Why? Simple. Events matter. They matter because we are humans. We rely on technology, including a rapid global acceptance of AI to support tasks in our business across a wide spectrum of possibilities from marketing to understanding the reams of data our events provide, as the tip of the iceberg of possibilities. But technology only supports our events. People make them meaningful.

In 2017 I wrote in Intentional Event Design, Our Professional Opportunity that our role as event professionals is to create experiences steeped in trust. That organizations invest in events because they provide a catalyst for behaviour change leading to business growth. That when our participants leave feeling their participation in our event was the best use of their time and financial investment, and the business sees positive growth because brand loyalty grows through nurtured relationships in live (and to some extent virtual) settings, we prove our value.

BUT, we are tired. Exhausted, our mental health is more at risk than ever. Geopolitical influences and climate change provide more risk to our live events, as participants traverse their regions or the globe to be part of an event that brings humans together. It is the sheer lack of control that provides additional stressors to event professionals tasked with creating the space and flow that will immerse, engage and ultimately evoke an emotional response, connecting individuals to brands and to each other, crafting the stories we tell. This is the magic of events and once you have experienced the oohs and aha moments, it is hard to stop!

As individuals, teams and an industry we have the opportunity to create positive impact for billions, literally. We are an economic driver to the tune of more than 1 trillion dollars annually on a global scale. We can design events so legacies are left behind in our hosting communities through acts of social good. We bring together people who through shared experiences and dialogue create the innovations that will help us solve the many challenges humans face. We foster and celebrate human connection. We make a difference.

How do we maintain excellence when talent is harder to recruit and retain? When timelines are shortened but expectations remain the same? There are not easy answers to these questions, but they are areas we are slowly tackling as an industry. We have put wellbeing on our agendas and in our offices and for our remote team members. Mental health discussions are no longer taboo, rather space can be made for these, and tools exist we can tap into to help us on this journey.

AI can support tasks to meet deadlines with information you can quickly develop and then add creative touches to. It is critical we evolve. Why? Because events matter. Coming together for connections, dialogue, play, sport, hospitality and growth has been part of the human experience since we have been upright, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Let’s keep sharing what’s on our minds each time we are together.

 

Tahira Endean is the head of programme for IMEX. With an extensive career in the business events industry and a background in intentional event design, she boasts a 30-year history of delivering global events and volunteering in the industry. 

 

 

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